Current Wilkes University President to Start Aug. 1, 2019
PHOTO: Patrick F. Leahy
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Monmouth University Board of Trustees today announced that Patrick F. Leahy, Ed.D., will serve as the university’s 10th president, effective Aug. 1, 2019. The announcement was made at an event in historic Woodrow Wilson Hall at 10 a.m., where the incoming president addressed the university community.
Leahy emerged as the Board’s unanimous selection from a diverse pool of more than 100 highly accomplished leaders in the nationwide search. He will succeed Grey J. Dimenna, Esq., who will conclude his tenure on July 31.
“I am thrilled to begin my tenure as the next president of Monmouth University,” said Leahy. “Monmouth has continually demonstrated its willingness to evolve to meet the needs of all students and is dedicated to serving an increasingly diverse student body.
“As we move forward, we’ll build upon the strong foundation here at Monmouth and move toward even higher levels of excellence and access. It is clear that the Monmouth community is a family. I, along with my wife, Amy, and our children, are excited to be joining this family at the Jersey Shore. I want to thank the presidential search committee, the Board of Trustees, President Dimenna, and the faculty, staff, and students for the opportunity to serve this great institution.”
Leahy comes to Monmouth from Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he has served as president since 2012. Guided by a fundamental commitment to student success, Leahy led the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for Wilkes that focused the university’s efforts and resources on teaching, research, and civic engagement.
The plan set the stage for key initiatives and accomplishments including the introduction of 20 new academic programs; strategic enrollment growth in online master’s programs and doctoral degrees, including the launch of the university’s first Ph.D. program; investments in faculty scholarship and research, resulting in the university’s first five patents; and innovative external partnerships that expanded the university’s reach and supported the local community.
Fulfilling key initiatives of the Wilkes plan, Leahy has been instrumental in over $100 million in transformative campus enhancements, including the construction and renovation of five academic buildings to support learning in the arts, sciences, health care and business. In order to enhance the student experience and strengthen undergraduate enrollment, Wilkes launched seven new NCAA Division III athletic teams and the region’s only collegiate marching band.
“Dr. Leahy is a strategic, entrepreneurial thinker,” said Henry D. Mercer, III ’87, chair of the presidential search committee and immediate past chair of the Monmouth University Board of Trustees. “He has a clear understanding of how a private university works and knows how to get visionary initiatives realized.”
Prior to his time at Wilkes, Leahy was a senior administrative leader at The University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania, from 2004 to 2012. He first served as vice president of University Relations, successfully completing a $129 million comprehensive capital campaign. He was then promoted to executive vice president, where he was responsible for development, government relations, undergraduate and graduate admission, intercollegiate athletics, planning, and information technology. Leahy also taught in the Business Leadership Honors Program.
Before moving to Scranton, Leahy was co-founder and president of the Business Affairs Forum, a 15,000-member distance learning community based in Ithaca, New York. He has also worked as an investment officer for Allied Capital Corporation, as an account executive at Deluxe Corporation, and as a development officer at Georgetown University.
A native of Towson, Maryland, Leahy graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. He earned dual master’s degrees in Business Administration and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where he was a Fried Fellow, and earned his Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Leahy and his wife, Amy, have four children: Grace, 20; Molly, 18; Jack, 14; and Brian, 12. They will relocate to Doherty House, the presidential residence, this summer.
“We are very excited because Dr. Leahy has the talent and broad experience to help Monmouth reach new levels of academic excellence,” said Board Chair Michael A. Plodwick ’82. “He has an articulated vision for student success and is ready to move the university forward to realize our potential.”
Jasmine Cooper, a sophomore sociology major from Bowie, Maryland and member of the presidential transition team, said that Leahy’s student-centered approach helped him stand out.
“I was really impressed by how invested Dr. Leahy is in student scholarship and fostering student-faculty collaboration,” said Cooper. “Being able to work closely with my professors is one of the things I love most about Monmouth.”
The announcement of Leahy’s hiring concludes a year-long national search, conducted in consultation with Isaacson Miller, headquartered in Boston. The 17-member presidential search committee included two students, two administrators, three faculty members, and 10 members of the Board of Trustees, six of whom are alumni.
“I am grateful to Search Chair Henry Mercer and all 17 members of the presidential search committee, who gave generously of their time to serve the University,” said Plodwick. “I would also like to extend my gratitude to President Dimenna for his outstanding service. His tenure has been characterized by a keen dedication to student engagement and success, and I have greatly valued his leadership, energy, and commitment to Monmouth University in the years we have worked together.”
President Dimenna will continue to actively lead the university while he works with Leahy to facilitate a productive transition. The university has appointed a cross-functional presidential transition team, led by co-chairs Robin Mama, dean of the School of Social Work, and Richard Veit, chair of the Department of History and Anthropology, to help ensure a smooth process.